Beijing to Allow Tourists 72-hour Visa-Free Stays
Overseas visitors soon will be able to enjoy a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours while in transit in Beijing to attract more tourism spending in the capital city. The new policy has been approved by the State Council and a timetable will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead. At present, Shanghai allows some overseas visitors to stay for up to 48 hours without a Visa. In Shanghai, nearly 3,000 people enjoyed the 48-hour visa-free period in 2011, an increase of 78.5 percent from 2010. The 48-hour policy is available to visitors from 32 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Germany, France, Hungary and Switzerland. The visa-free policy is expected to be extended to railways and ports next year.
Wall Street Journal Features Chinese Cuisine
No city in the world serves up Peking Duck better than Beijing. The Wall Street Journal recently profiled several outstanding restaurant’s in China’s capital city that offer this legendary dish. Click here to read all about it.
Hainan Set to Rival Singapore, Malaysia and Italy by 2021
The Chinese province of Hainan is on track to become one of the world’s leading tourist resort destinations by 2021. According to the report, ‘Hainan: Travel & Tourism Development Potential 2011 – 2021’ released recently by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), by 2021 tourism expenditures in Hainan will be roughly equivalent to that of Singapore today, and the industry will support as many jobs as in Malaysia and Italy today. In December 2009, China’s State Council issued a decree that Hainan in the South China Sea – the largest Special Economic Zone in China – was to be elevated into a world-class international tourist resort destination by 2020 and the Provincial Government is now well on the way to reaching these goals, according to the WTTC report.
Beyond Beijing: Brands Move into New Territory
The population numbers in China’s lesser-known (to Americans) metropolitan areas are as enormous as they are enticing, and some of the global hotel industry’s biggest players are eager to capitalize. Approximately 170 Chinese cities have more than 1 million residents, but just four – Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – are considered Tier 1 in terms of size and wealth. Only 9% of the country’s population lives in these four markets, leaving what Jones Lang LaSalle defines as the “China50” – or the 50 second- and third-tier cities that will account for 12% of global economic growth during the next decade and will generate 6% of the world’s output by 2020. These cities are prime targets for hotel brands seeking to expand. According to JLL, the supply of globally branded hotels in these 50 cities grew by 19% between 2010 and 2011, compared to 10% in first-tier cities.
Zhangjiajie, China Launches Website Geared to North American travelers
The United States has the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone… and China has Zhangjiajie, a national park of other-worldly natural beauty that can be experienced by your clients in all four seasons. Zhangjiajie Tourism Board has launched a website designed specifically for North American travelers, in response to rapid growth in inbound tourism from the U.S. and Canada. The website, www.zhangjiajietourism.us, features a wealth of information about Zhangjiajie, which is located in the Hunan Province of south-central China, and which served as the inspiration for Academy Award-winning director James Cameron’s blockbuster film Avatar. The new website provides information about the area’s top scenic spots, what to see and do, as well as trip-planning details and vacation packages offered to travelers from North America. The multimedia section of the site also includes photos and video of the many breathtaking sites seen in Zhangjiajie, from the towering sandstone pillars of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the theater and dance of the region, and even the native macaque monkeys. The vacation packages section of the website highlights current travel packages, with both air-inclusive packages and land-only tours.
Mount Wutai Joins World Heritage List
China’s Mount Wutai became China’s 38th site to join UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a cultural landscape. Located in Shanxi Province, Mount Wutai is the highest mountain in northern China and is remarkable for its five open treeless peaks. Temples were built on the site from the first century AD to the early 20th century. The cultural landscape features 53 monasteries and includes the East Main Hall of Foguang Temple, a structure that was built in 857 during the Tang Dynasty (618-917) and is one of the oldest wooden buildings in China. It also features the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Shuxiang Temple with a huge complex of 500 statues representing Buddhist stories woven into three-dimensional pictures of mountains and water. Click here to learn more.
LeBron James Makes Ninth Trip to China
NBA star LeBron James, a big fan of Chinese cuisine, arrived in Beijing recently for a week-long trip. The reigning league champion Miami Heat play the Los Angeles Clippers twice during the NBA China Games, starting in Beijing and then in Shanghai. The itinerary is hectic, with VIP receptions, a trip to the Great Wall of China and other excursions planned. Both teams are trying to ensure that players and personnel have time to experience Chinese culture on their own.